A farmworker from the Maltahöhe area thanked Windhoek High Court Judge Dinnah Usiku yesterday after she sentenced him to an effective 20 years in prison for a conviction of murder without direct intent.
The judge proffered a little smile after Frans Abraham thanked her through a Damara/Nama interpreter when she finished reading out the sentence.
Usiku convicted 35-year-old Frans Abraham of stabbing to death the mother of his four children on the strength of the evidence of his daughter.
During the judgement, Usiku recounted that the evidence of the daughter of the deceased and the accused stood the test of time and was clear and consistent even though she was a minor.
She further said that in its final analysis, the court found that the witness, who may not be named, as she is a minor, despite being a single witness, was credible with no inconsistencies in her testimony.
“She testified in a clear and coherent manner, full of detail as to what transpired on the night in question,” the judge stated.
Abraham pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial to the charges that he murdered then 31-year-old Elizabeth Swartbooi and of attempting to kill his then three-week old son between 31 December 2018 and 1 January 2019 at Maltahöhe.
He was, however, acquitted on the attempted murder charge as the judge found that there is insufficient evidence to prove the charge.
Judge Usiku said that while being a first offender as in the present case weighs in the accused’s favour, the fact that the offence was committed in a domestic setting outweighs this.
“Our courts are expected to deal severely with crimes committed in a domestic setting such as the present one, she stated and continued: Thus, this court cannot turn a blind eye to that even when the accused to a certain extent could be said to have shown remorse for his conduct.”
According to the judge, the extent of the injuries on the deceased as shown by the post mortem report shows that the accused used a lot of force. She further said the deceased left four minor children and as such, they were robbed of a mother whose demise has created a vacuum in their lives.
“One cannot describe how the death of their mother will have serious repercussions on them as they grow. Violence in families is often hidden from view and devastates its victims physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially. It threatens the stability of the family and negatively impacts all family members, especially children who learn from it that violence is an acceptable way to cope with stress or problems or gain control over another person,” the judge stressed.
The accused did show remorse for his actions, as can be deduced from the evidence before court, the judge said, but the fact remains a precious life was lost. “I am of the view that justice should not only be done to offenders, but the victims of crime should also receive justice,” Usiku stated.
She went on to say that the accused should pay for his deeds and must be punished appropriately for his crime and then sentenced Abraham to 26 years imprisonment of which six years is suspended for five years on the usual conditions.
He was represented by Milton Engelbrecht on instructions on Legal Aid and the State by Ian Malumani. - firstname.lastname@example.org